Wonderful Women around the World

One of the best things about blogging is getting to know people from all over the world. I love the conversations with others who have similar eagerness to let go of old patterns, habits and beliefs and who are keen to grow in compassion, both for others and themselves. I love how something I write can spark a realisation in someone else, who then writes a post that sparks a realisation in me. This way everyone benefits!

A wonderful blogger with whom I often have great conversations is Samantha Ryan, who blogs at The Marble Jar. Recently Samantha invited me to take part in a blog tour and included me in her post Four Encouraging and Inspirational Bloggers You MUST Read. I feel extremely honoured to have been included.

And now, it’s my turn to keep the tour going and to share with you three more bloggers – all of them lovely women writing with insight and wisdom  and sometimes lashings of humour! Although we haven’t met in person, and are an ocean (or even oceans) apart in “real life,” there is far more that connects all the bloggers I’ve included here than separates us.

In her post last week, Samantha wrote:

Samantha Ryan

Samantha Ryan

 I really want to seek the people who resonate with my desire to identify what isn’t serving myself and my family and then change it. Those risk takers who are willing to buck the popular belief models and seek what is right. And if in the process we can laugh at ourselves? That would be gravy.

I totally agree with Samantha. Letting go of old beliefs and habits that no longer serve me is an on-going process for me. The more I do it though, the more content I feel and the more life becomes free. I love that Samantha also includes laughing at ourselves – I haven’t always found this easy to do, though I think I’m getting better at it, and I’m learning from some masters as you will see when you click on one or two of the posts I’ve highlighted.

First though, I want to get all serious and tell you about a post by Samantha that was probably the first one where we really began to know each other. We’d both been in a blogging group for a wee while and then Samantha posted How I Broke My Kid and How I’m Fixing It. I loved that she recognised that how she’d approached some aspects of parenting had an impact on her son – and instead of blaming and punishing herself she began making changes to how she listened to him and how she spoke to him, regaining his trust. In that article Samantha wrote:

For every chance I get to earn hearing his problems, or be there to help him solve them I am grateful.

What a wonderful way to look at parenting – to feel gratitude at being able to help our children with their problems!

Much as I’d love to go on telling you about the wonderful women featured here, first as part of this blog tour post it’s customary to answer four questions about my writing process. So here goes:

1. What am I working on?

I am working on a number of projects – I have 2 part finished novels, some short stories, one partly written non-fiction book, and another at idea level. Before my father’s death we were recording his memories from when he was a youth of  seventeen and working at the construction of a radar station during World War II.  I’d still like to complete what we started, as best I can. Then of course, I am also working on this blog, and on my writing blog. I’ve recently moved that from Blogger to WordPress and my own domain, yvonnespence.com . There’s still quite a bit of organisation to do on it, as well as write posts.

For Inquiring Parent, I don’t tend to plan many posts in advance, but write what crops up spontaneously, or in response to questions from others. That could be about to change. I’ve recently read ebooks and articles about blogging, and I now realise ways I could improve both my blogs, so that’s an ongoing project.  As part of that improvement, I aim to plan more posts, so that my schedule is more consistent. I already have several partly written posts on various emotions, and on going beyond the idea of “positive thinking = good, negative thinking = bad” to a more holistic way of living.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Oh, gosh! You tell me please, dear reader!

Okay, let’s try.  My genre for this blog (and for most of my writing) is mindful living. I hope that Inquiring Parent creates a bridge between “expert” bloggers and people who have just beginning to learn and practice mindfulness. I’m not an expert, and I don’t float around on a cloud of bliss all day long, but I have been practising The Work of Byron Katie for a decade, and the Sedona Method for several years, and these have radically changed how I view the world. So I’m in an in-between state, where I often feel what I can only describe as a sense of inner peace, even if on the outside I can still feel turmoil. That’s where the bridge comes in – my hope is that my writing can be useful to those beginning out on this path. (In the same way that sometimes when I ask an web expert a question and need someone else to explain the answer, maybe I’m able to help beginners understand the answers of the mindfulness experts.)

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

This one is easy to answer! My life has been transformed in every way by learning mindfulness, by releasing emotions and by questioning stressful beliefs. I love sharing what has helped me become calmer, kinder and happier. And that has nothing to do with me as a person, but everything to do with letting go of what gets in the way of being who we really are. (That’s love, just in case you wonder!)

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

How I write depends on what I write – for fiction I almost always start with pen and paper, whereas I sometimes write blog posts and articles all the way through on a computer. But not always.

Sometimes bits of a post come spontaneously into my mind, sometimes an entire post just flows. Other times I start with an idea, write a bit, do research, write some more. I often outline this kind of post first, but even then my writing process tends to be quite fluid. I work best when I allow the writing to come pouring out, and shape it afterwards. If I try to impose a structure too soon this can stifle the more creative and intuitive part of my mind – and that’s the part that produces my best fiction and more insightful posts. So I guess my writing process looks a bit haphazard.

If I find myself stuck for any reason, I pause and notice the thoughts that are running through my mind. (Usually it will be something along the lines of, “You can’t write that; people will think you are an idiot.”) Then I use one (or both) of the processes I’ve mentioned above to to let go and get writing anyway!

And now the bloggers!

Now that we’ve got my stuff out of the way, here’s the part I’m really excited about – telling you about some more bloggers I adore.

Kristi Cambell with her son

Kristi Cambell with her son

First up is:
Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee
Kristi Campbell is a semi-lapsed career woman with twenty years of marketing experience in a variety of global technology companies. While she works part-time, her passion is writing and drawing stupid-looking pictures for her blog, Finding Ninee. It began with a memoir about her special-needs son Tucker, abandoned when Kristi read that a publisher would rather shave a cat than read another memoir. She writes for several parenting websites, is the DC Editor for SavvySource, and was published in four popular anthologies including The HerStories Project and Mother of All Meltdowns. She received 2014 BlogHer’s Voice of the Year People’s Choice Award and almost always leaves the house in either flip-flops or Uggs, depending on the weather.
Remember how I mentioned learning from masters of laughing at ourselves? Kristi excels at this, and she manages to write posts that are deeply insightful, mindful and utterly hilarious. One of those posts is The Time I was Abducted by Aliens and Could Change My Past .
Kristi also writes beautifully about really serious subjects, and in her Our Land series shares her vision for a land of empathy and wonder where everyone would feel valued and cared for, “where quirks and differences are celebrated.” For this series she accepts guest posts from bloggers sharing their own experiences of parenting children with special needs or stories of empathy and acceptance.
Another great post by Kristi that shows this empathy is: You will love your retarded baby (and we don’t say retarded any more) 
Lizzy with her daughter

Lizzy with her daughter

Lizzy Allan of Muddle-Headed Mama

Lizzy Allan is a single mum of two from Western Australia, a high school teacher by trade and a gypsy by nature. She blogs about her frequent collisons with chaos, her memories of living in Sweden and Sicily and her eccentric family over at  The Muddle-Headed Mamma.

Two of her favourite posts are  I Meant to Make a Friend at Mothers’ Group  and A Cautionary Tale About Pyjamas and the School Run.

The latter is another great example of a blogger laughing at herself, and the former is one I can relate to. Years ago, when our first daughter was a baby, we moved several hundred miles and I meant to make a friend at Mothers’ Group – but it didn’t work out for me either.

But I can’t leave Lizzy without including my favourite of her posts (which has also been featured on Finding Ninee.)  It is: The Bikini Bridge and the Beauty of Hindsight. Here are two sentences from that post, that are all we ever really need to remember:

You are enough. You have always been enough.

Thank you Lizzy, for that reminder.

 

Katia Bishofs of I Am The Milk
Katia won a BlogHer Voice of the Year Award in 2013, and her blog I Am The Milk is a WordPress recommended family blog. It was also the first (and till now the only) place where one of my posts has been featured as a guest post. Thanks Katia!
Katia with her camera!

Katia with her camera!

But that’s not why I like her writing – honest! I like it because, like the other women featured here, it is insightful, honest and shows a woman and mother in growth.
In many ways, the global theme of this post is encapsulated in Katia’s life. She was raised in an immigrant family, then she moved continents and became one herself.

She writes about her two boys, 5 Year Old and Almost Two Year Old and occasionally her husband, Thirty Eight Year Old.

In her post, Closest to me Katia writes about her experience of moving and how it made her feel smaller. She says, “I blog because writing brought friends who think and feel like me into my life.”

In It’s Complicated Raising My Sons as an Outsider, Katia writes beautifully about what it is like raise children in a different country and using a different language to that you grew up with.  She writes about her doubts about starting to write in a language (English) that wasn’t her first and how she’s surprised herself as a parent. Katia says:

Writing crystallizes the unexpected for me and sheds different lights on it.

I couldn’t have put it better myself!

If you don’t already know these wonderful women, do check out their blogs. You will learn and you will laugh.

 

Comments

  1. Dear Yvonne, all month long I’ve been reading these writing prompt posts and it’s been such a treat. Reading about writing is one of my favourite things. I loved learning more about the “behind the scenes” of your blog. I can assure you that you do serve as that bridge you aim to be. Whether it’s through reading your posts or even comments on my blog I always feel your calming presence and it always surprises me how that can happen through a computer screen, and isn’t calmness, un-stress, a good place to start practicing mindfulness? I am grateful to you for including me in this tour and I look forward to collecting my thoughts and addressing this favourite subject of mine.

    1. Author

      Katia, I love your comment! I so agree with you that calmness is a great place to start practicing mindfulness. And of course, mindfulness also then brings calm – the opposites of a vicious circle. Thanks so much for letting me know that I do serve as a bridge! That’s so reassuring to know.
      I’m delighted to have included you and look forward to reading your post. Thanks for taking part.

  2. As a huge fan of your blog, your writing, and your philosophy on life, I am so honored to be on your list, Yvonne. Thank you. Your posts on mindfulness always make me think and always give me new points to consider – like the difference between self esteem and self compassion, which I’m now a huge advocate for. I’m honored to be one of your far across the ocean friends and so happy to know you. I hope your trip is amazing, too!

    1. Author

      Aw, Kristi, thank you! And I am so, so delighted that you’ve found the self-compassion posts to be useful. Your post on self-compassion was of course one of those I was referring to when I wrote how wonderful it is that we can write something that sparks a realisation in someone else, and then they write something that does the same for us. I was reading a blog post about “checking our your competition” today and I thought how I don’t think of bloggers who write about mindfulness as competitors, but as friends and allies! If you feel honoured to be on my list, I feel honoured to have you! Thanks for taking part, and I’m looking forward to reading your post too.

  3. I think we must be kindred spirits, you and I; so much of what you wrote here about writing, mindfulness and letting go of old beliefs resonated with me. How exciting that you have so many writing projects in progess! I’m off now to google The Work of Byron Katie and the Sedona Method 🙂

    1. Author

      Lizzy, I definitely sensed that you are a kindred spirit in your article on the bikini bridge. So much wisdom there.
      I’m so pleased you are checking out the Work and the Sedona Method. Both those processes make such a difference to my life, and by extension, to those around me. If you check my “Inquiry” posts (under mindfulness in the menu) there’s quite a few examples of how I’ve used The Work to question stressful beliefs.

      Thank you so much for taking part in the blog tour – I’m delighted you wanted to join in! And, again, the honour is mutual! (If that makes sense!)

I love getting comments and reply to every one. Tell the world (and me) what you think!